Ontario’s Chief Drinking Water Inspector releases annual report

drinking water picture

The Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s Annual Report provides information about the performance of Ontario’s regulated drinking water systems and laboratories, drinking water test results, and enforcement activities and programs.

The 2016-2017 annual report, released on October 6, 2017, highlighted results for Ontario’s regulated drinking water systems, including:

  • 99.8% of drinking water tests from municipal residential drinking water systems met Ontario’s drinking water standards. These municipal residential drinking water systems serve more than 80% of Ontario’s population.
  • 99.4% of municipal residential drinking water systems received an inspection rating greater than 80%, with 70% receiving an inspection rating of 100%. Inspection ratings show how well the systems are operating and meeting regulations.
  • 98% of flushed test samples from schools and child care centres met the province’s standard for lead in drinking water.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), Ontario uses a multi-barrier approach to protect drinking water through legislation, health-based standards, and regular testing, trained operators, regular inspections, source water protection program and transparent reporting.

The 2016-17 Report at a glance
  • The Inspector’s report states that over the past five years, Ontario has seen progressively positive results, including a steady decline in the proportion of high-risk systems (11.59% in 2016-17 down from 16.65% in 2012-13). As of March 31, 2017, 75.42% of small drinking water systems are now categorized as low risk.
  • A decline of 20.60% in total number of adverse water quality incidents was observed between 2012-13 (1,471) and 2016-17 (1,168). The number of small drinking water systems that reported an adverse water quality incident for the same period also declined by 18.24% from 1,173 in 2012-13 to 959 in 2016-17.
  • 97% of over 99,000 drinking water samples submitted from small drinking water systems during the reporting year have consistently met Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards.
  • As of March 31, 2017, 18,942 risk assessments have been completed for the approximately 10,000 small drinking water systems.
  • Over 88% of systems are categorized as low/moderate risk and subject to regular re-assessment every four years, while the remaining systems, categorized as high risk, are re-assessed every two years.

According to the MOECC, Ontario has approximately 10,000 small drinking water systems regulated under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. These systems are located across the province in semi-rural to remote communities and provide drinking water where there is no municipal water supply.

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Click here to read the Inspector’s 2016-2017 annual report.


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